FLOW BLOG: Hi, thanks for joining us. Where are you from and what’s your family life like?
GM: I’ve always lived in Northern Virginia and I grew up in Herndon. My parents both grew up in the Northern Virginia area,(McLean and Oakton). I have two younger sisters, Julie and Charlotte. Julie is a PHD grad student at UNC, and Charlotte just graduated from Princeton.
FB: Did you play a lot of different sports growing up?
GM: Growing up baseball was my main sport, but I also tried swimming, golf and tennis. In high school I played football for a few years, but baseball was always my main sport.
FB: Do you have a favorite sports team?
GM: My favorite sports team is the Washington Nationals. Let’s go Nats!
FB: How would you describe a typical class with you?
GM: My typical class is both challenging and fun, and I want students to leave feeling like they have worked hard and had a great experience. I want students to feel their own strength, and enjoy the movements we go through. I like savasana most after a class where I’ve tried my hardest while listening to my body, learning a little more about myself in the process.
FB: Did you take any cool trips last summer?
I went on the Flow Costa Rica retreat in April, which was awesome. It was a great time in an amazing country. I spent some time in upstate New York this summer as well, but Costa Rica was absolutely a highlight.
FB: Any pets?
GM: My parents take care of the family dog we had growing up, a Brittney Spaniel named Boo, but I don’t have any pets of my own.
FB: Your bio mentions that you started practicing in a gym and that you also suffered an injury, how did all this go down and how did you arrive at Flow from there?
GM: I was pretty active in high school and college but after entering the working world, and sitting at a desk for a long time each day I wasn’t feeling as healthy. I decided to get active, by going back to the gym, and joining rec leagues, playing kickball and softball. I did a little yoga to stretch out after lifting but I did not practice a lot, though I enjoyed yoga when I took classes at the gym.
It was a fairly typical week for me about 5 years ago; I lifted weights, played kickball, and softball on consecutive days. Then I woke up the next day and couldn’t sit up. It was a feeling that scared and surprised me. I was able to make it to my doctor who thought it was a muscle spasm, and I was prescribed rest and medication. When that didn’t help very much I started physical therapy. My lower back felt weak, near the right hip. I was able to sit, but when I stood for longer than 10 minutes I would get pain in my back, hip and glute that just got worse and worse until I could sit and rest.
After a few months of pain and not super effective treatment I had an MRI taken of my back and my doctors saw a large herniation in a disk in my lower back (L4-L5). I was recommended surgery, but luckily I was able to regain strength in my back and core to stop the pain. I was told to keep a strong core to prevent pain, and yoga was recommended as part of my rehab treatment.
I started to practice more at the gym, with less lifting, and then one day I asked the yoga teacher at the gym where she practiced, and she recommended Flow Yoga in Ashburn. My first class was with Susan, and I knew right then that the yoga at our studio was for me.
I’ve had a few flare-ups over the last few years, and I’m always aware that this injury could come back to haunt me, but I feel strong and think that doing yoga is some of the best treatment for my particular injury.
FB: You also mentioned your job in your bio, how does yoga help relieve stress for you as both a teacher and a student?
GM: Yoga helps me to relieve stress from my job by helping me be present and focused in the moment. When I am practicing I am trying to be present in my body and movements by focusing on my actions and postures. When I am focused on my practice I’m not worrying about the meetings or conference calls or any of the work stuff off the mat. I also feel that after a hard sweaty class I have a better view of the work/life balance. If I can do the hard yoga work, office work isn’t as intimidating. When I am leading a class, I am present and focused on the flow, the breath and the class. When I am in front of a class going through the postures, I am right there in the moment.
FB: Who are some of the teachers and students who inspire you the most?
GM I work with a Coach and trainer, Mauricio Valle, who I really enjoy working with and who is constantly challenging me and pushing me further. I enjoy practicing with so many of my fellow Flow teacher and students as well.
FB: Who are some of the artists you’d put in the perfect yoga playlist for one of your classes?
GM I really enjoy the Black Keys, and I try and have some of their music in my yoga playlists. Trevor Hall also seems to keep popping up in my classes.